Greg Gresens (pictured right) on his trip to India
Throngs of people walking through garbage-filled streets with the pungent smells of curry and the incessant honking of horns and blaring music is enough to overwhelm anyone who visits India. I was more than overwhelmed and hardly prepared for everything I saw when I visited India to teach English at a seminary. It was not until I made my way down to dip my toes in the Indian Ocean that the mass of humanity and the desperation of so many people in that country began to sink in. Every beggar I passed reached toward me and stared at me as I made my way to the beach. One particular woman caught my eye and caused me to stop in my tracks because she had the widest, most dramatic cleft palate I had ever seen.
This lady looked to be in her late teens. In India, girls are still very disposable because of their high cost. I have a daughter of fourteen whom I love, and cannot imagine throwing away, but it happens all the time in India. How much easier it must have been to dispose of a girl who was filthy and looked like ….that. I stopped for a moment, and thought to myself, “There is a soul that will not be in heaven unless she knows Jesus Christ as Savior”. For a moment, it seemed time stood still. And then, I moved on down to the ocean.
My heart breaks over my failure that day. It was a mistake I realized immediately, but I had all the excuses which were just as equally realized to be what they were. The next day I revealed this to my brothers in Christ at the seminary, encouraging them to never look down on the least of these. I pray for the opportunity to correct my wrong with that girl, or to make the lesson I learned there flow out in testimony to others about the saving love of Jesus Christ.
However, later in the trip, we were blessed to be able to witness a beauty that, quite honestly, would seem to only exist in a dream. An Advisory Board Member of Bethania Kids, Mike Raja, took us to see the Bethania girl’s home in Nagercoil. To see the hard work that the girls do in studying nearly four hours a day, and the way they help one another was amazing. To see the smiles on the girls in their wonderfully clean green and white uniforms that are worn with such pride was beyond description.
I thank God that I was given an opportunity to see this in person. I long for the day to come when I can witness and share this experience again. Each child is a wonderful creation of God. Each girl, or boy in these homes, laughs, cries, and longs for assimilation, just like our children. I can testify that the money we send to Bethania Kids is used and given to God’s glory.